Friday, February 10, 2012

To Pray or Not to Pray

I notice that Bideford Town Council, who were challenged in court about beginning their meetings with prayers, have lost their case. The case was brought on the basis that the human rights of non-Christians were being breached. The case was actually won on an obscure point of legislation. No breach of human rights was found.

Read the BBC report here.

I suspect that many Christians will feel disappointed by this judgement. I don't. It is a matter of common courtesy, one which I offer people regularly, to ask permission before you pray. I extend this courtesy to all those I meet pastorally at weddings and funerals. Baptisms are different because the people concerned are seeking to make a Christian connection.

When one of our sons turned against our Christian routines we stopped saying grace.

It is not as if Christian Councillors will be unable to pray. They may have to do it quietly. I know of no scripture that tells me audible prayer is more effective than silent.

The sooner we identify our country's constitution as secular the better the Christian message can compete fairly in the market place of ideas.


Little Nut Tree said...

Thank you for this! I agree with you. I thought most people would actually, but after having a discussion with some friends in which I was the only one sharing your view, I've had to revise my opinion!
Since I'm here, might as well take the opportunity to thank you for your blog in general, which I often find both helpful and amusing (similar to Adrian Plass). I especially liked your posts about trust earlier this year.

Anne said...

Hear, hear.
There would also be nothing to stop the councillors who wanted to pray gathering beforehand to do so. They could pray for hours if they felt like it... They could pray every day if the mood took them...It was just considered to be wrong to put it on the agenda of the meeting to which councillors are "summoned" and expected to attend. It seems to me to be a matter of common courtesy not to assume people into one's own world-view. It has no impact on, say, Remembrance Services, as I have heard suggested, provided that no one is compelled to come to them, which I would hope they are not.